Much scientific work has gone into the development of electric vehicles over recent years. Huge strides have been made, but I cannot see a way past the battery problem in the case of day-to-day electric cars.
This is always glossed over by the proponents of electric cars. Making the electric motor part of an electric car is easy, compared with the battery.
For items like cellphones, one needs a small battery, so the phone can fit in your pocket. You also need as long a life battery as possible for convenience. These two are competing factors. A longer life means a bigger battery. Yes, technology has advanced for cellphone batteries that use chemical technologies such as lithium, but these batteries produce a very low current and are expensive.
For motor cars, you need a lot of power and you cannot just scale up a cellphone battery, as some people seem to think. Electric car batteries, no matter what you do, are big, heavy things that bolt onto the bottom of the car. They do not last very long either, and so have to be replaced every couple of years at great expense. Then, of course, you have to recharge the battery after something like 150 km of travel. The recharging takes hours. This is all just not practical for conventional cars.
The real challenge now is to find other uses for electric motors designed for vehicles where the use fits the electricity supply. For example, electric trains are no problem because they run on the electrical supply in the form of overhead cables and on metal rails.
I know of some really good electrical drives here in South Africa that are excellent. They have particularly high torque, but still use the same electrical power as other types of much less torque.
So, either you need to use such devices where you can supply the power by cable or you need to have a mobile battery power system. If it is battery, then, ideally, the vehicle should return to the charging point each night or should be able to change batteries fast. One option would be a forklift loader that spends its life in one shed. Other options are mining vehicles that have to operate underground, where competing power sources like a diesel engine produce smoke and exhaust gas.
Too many people are fixated on electric vehicles being cars. But there must be many uses. If anybody has ideas, let me know. Remember that such electrical drive motors come in very different sizes. You can make them small enough to hold one in your hands, while others are as big as a small car.
The electrical drive itself does not have to move around, as is the case in a car. It can be static, as in pulling something up from a mine or perhaps pulling open a heavy gate like a furnace door.
Anyway, my instinct tells me that there must be many uses for such things. This is where lateral thinking comes in. It is a case of mind stretching to imagine a use which may initially appear silly but just may turn out to be a great idea.
Of course, motors being electrical, one can link many motors so that 20 or 30 all start at once or at very precise intervals in a sequence. You would battle to do that with petrol or diesel engines.
Some years ago, I wrote that electricity was the biggest liberator of women ever. I pointed out that, traditionally, a number of jobs were reserved for men because of the physical strength required, with blacksmiths being an example. Then, with electric motors came a great liberation of women. Soon after publication, a lady phoned to congratulate me on the article and said that I had got it almost right. But, she said, the greatest liberator of women was the birth control pill; electric motors were second.